NEW ORLEANS - Mayor Mitch Landrieu in a strongly-worded address Friday as the last of the Confederate-era monuments was being removed, slammed the legacy of the Confederacy and said that while history should be remembered, it needn't be revered.

"The Confederacy lost and we're better for it," he said.

Landrieu said that the four statues were erected in the decades following the Civil War in an attempt to inspire fear among some.

"They were erected purposefully to send a strong message to all who walked in their shadows about who was still in charge in the city," he said.

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Landrieu admitted that he had passed the monuments in his youth and paid little attention to their significance.

MORE: Councilwoman Stacy Head demands accounting of money spent on removals

Landrieu said the slavery trade prospered in the city of New Orleans.

"New Orleans was America's largest slave market, a port where hundreds of souls were brought, sold and shipped up," he said. "America was the place where nearly 4,000 of our fellow citizens were lynched - 540 alone in Louisiana."